Road House (1989)

run time: 114 mins
rated: 18A
considered: Action, Thriller
director: Rowdy Herrington
starring: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Marshall R. Teague, Julie Michaels, Red West, Sunshine Parker, Jeff Healy, Kevin Tighe, John Doe, Kathleen Wilhoite, Travis McKenna, Terry Funk, Roger Hewlett, Kurt James Stefka

movie summary: The Double Deuce is a bar with a really bad reputation in a small mid-western town. Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe) wants to clean up his business so he goes out and hires the best bouncer in the industry, a small rugged guy named Dalton (Patrick Swayze). Dalton takes the job and begins to turn things around when Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) attempts to lure Dalton away. When Brad doesn’t get his way, he employs his son Jimmy (Marshall R. Teague) and a gang of henchmen to take Dalton out.

Dalton moves to town where he rents a loft in a barn from a guy named Emmett (Sunshine Parker), he loves the place because it doesn’t offer a lot of distractions and it’s quiet. His job provides him with enough action and drama every night that he needs to get away and reset his mind every morning. Tilghman brings Dalton to the Double Deuce because he has some money to redesign the place and give it a better reputation. After scouting the place for the first night Dalton takes over the reigns the next morning. He calls a meeting for all the employees where he begins to fire the bad people out while creating a new training program for the rest of the crew. There’s a fight every night at the bar and his first night on the floor is no different, when the night ends and they are sweeping up the broken beer bottles Dalton fires the bartender and a few more people. Tilghman backs Dalton up and all his decisions, little do the two of them know these decisions will come back to haunt them.

Brad Wesley lays claim to many of the business’ in the town and collects fees from all them so they can operate in “his town”. He doesn’t like Dalton and the fact that Tilghman is trying to clean up his place, so he employs a gang of muscle men to continuously go to the Double Deuce every night to cause a brawl and attack Dalton. Every night when the dust settles Dalton and his bouncers always end up with the win, which just pisses Brad off even more. He decides to up the stakes when Dalton begins to see the town doctor Elizabeth Clay (Kelly Lynch).

In attempt to scare Frank and Dalton, Brad burns down the auto parts store across the parking lot from the Double Deuce. After that doesn’t have any effect on anyone he destroys the town’s only car dealership to get his message across. Dalton decides to call his best friend Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott) for back up because the situation is getting completely out of hand. Wade spends a few nights at the bar and joins in the brawls whenever they break out but he has a bad feeling things are not going to end well here so he tries to convince Dalton to cut his ties and leave. Dalton refuses and brushes Wade away telling him that Brad is going down one way or another. Elizabeth comes by his place to plead with him to give up this craziness when Jimmy blows up Emmet’s house. Dalton chases Jimmy down where the two engaged in a fist fight.

The very next day Brad contacts Dalton and says due to the recent events he’s going to kill Wade or Elizabeth and flips a coin. Dalton is furious and decides to go right to Brad’s house where his gang of muscle men wait for Dalton’s presence armed with shot guns and rifles.


my thoughts: It’s 2014 and I’m still surprised there are people out there who haven’t seen Road House! This is by far one of the funniest cliché movies from the 1980s that showcased Patrick Swayze as the toughest little guy in the history of the bouncer business. As great as this fictional movie is, I’m sure his character inspired many wanna be tough guys to become bouncers because of how cool he made the job look in the film.

Movie goers in the 1980s expected action films to be filled with blood, guts, guns, and hot girls, Road House provides all that with a few broken beer bottles thrown in for good measure. The story is very unrealistic in regards to the Brad Wesley character, but really hits home on the bouncer lifestyle and how crazy it can be. That line of work isn’t for everyone, Swayze’s character is a short rugged guy with a PhD in philosophy that always him to mess with your mind while he kicks your ass. The level of stupidity he has to deal with on a nightly basis is beyond indescribable, but the job pays great and attracts beautiful women leading to a pretty happy lifestyle.

Kelly Lynch plays Doc, Dalton’s love interest, who has a dark secret that complicates the situation even more. Dalton has a pretty full plate through out the movie, but finds time to settle into a relationship with the town’s beautiful blonde doctor. Sam Elliot rolls into town as Wade Garrett, Dalton’s mentor and a legend in the bar business. He is old but wise, he knows how to hit you with one punch or kick so you don’t get back up. Together he’ll team up with Dalton to take the trash out on a nightly basis.

The main bad guy, besides all the drunk people who stumble into the bar, is Ben Gazzara’s character Brad Wesley. Brad is the town’s richest spoiled brat who never seem to grow up. He claims to run the town and all the business’ in it, whenever he needs money he just sends out his son Jimmy  to collect payments and line his pockets. When things begin to look for the Double Deuce Brad feels threaten, instead of packing up his ball and going home, he’s willing to literally lose a bunch of his own men to make sure he comes out on top. He is the ultimate bad guy who won’t settle for anything less than Dalton’s head on a platter.

Road House is a hit and miss with so many people, you need to be in the right kind of mood to sit back and take it in. The movie doesn’t really try hard and the story is simple to follow. The directors did an amazing job of casting Jeff Healy and his band to play their music to distract the viewers from realising they are watching a movie filmed in smokey bars filled with drunk people. If you don’t want to give the movie a chance at least listen to the soundtrack, you won’t be disappointed either way.

my star rating: 8 out 10 6.4 out 10 40% out 100% 2.5 out 4

4 thoughts on “Road House (1989)

  1. This is such an old favourite of mine, Ryan! I’d probably call it a guilty pleasure, but then, what would I have to feel guilty about? It’s hilarious, there’s plenty of bust-ups and bruisings and the music is brilliant. It also has one of my favourite movie lines of all time – “PAIN DON’T HURT.” Haha! Classic.

    1. My grandmother loved this movie so I grew up watching it all the time. I watch it every once in a while because it’s great! Probably know every line by heart ha ha. I’ve mentioned it to many people who seriously have no clue what I’m talking about, like what rock have they been hiding under?!?

      1. I know right! How can you not have seen Road House? And if you have, how can you not want to watch it again? I managed to convert a few people one morning, after a night of boozing we were all still up and I had this awesome idea of sticking on Road House. They all loved it. Or at least, they did at 8am following twelve hours of drinking!

      2. You drank for 12 hours and then watched a movie?? Didn’t you watch anything while you drank?? ha ha
        Road House will always bring back childhood memories and I will watch it again and again until the day I die.
        Btw did you ever realize the Jimmy is the astronaut pilot who crashes the Independence ship in Armageddon? When I found that out I was like NO WAY!

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